People say, "Well, I recycle", so that one small thing makes people feel like it's okay to have a Land Rover. I think it's more than doing a small thing.
Eco Eye producer Marcus Stewart popped in to Tinpot Towers to talk about the challenges of keeping the show on the road for Ireland’s longest running environmental TV series, and how media and Governments have a responsibility to respond to the climate crisis.
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Daryl: It’s the Tinpod Productions podcast, and today I’m delighted to say we are speaking to Marcus Stewart who is series producer of Eco Eye. Is it fair to say Eco Eye at 15 series at this stage? It is a broadcasting institution? There aren’t many series that run for that length of time specifically.
Marcus: Yeah, we’re actually just kicking into series 18 actually.
Daryl: It is 18?
Marcus: 18, yeah.
Daryl: Wow, fabulous.
Marcus: So, long time at it. Sorry, I’m only on 15 of them, so yeah. It’s a long time at it now, yeah.
Daryl: Your role is series producer, so in a nutshell what does that involve if it’s possible to put that in a nutshell.
Marcus: Sure, tough one, maybe like a developer of in a state or something like that, someone who has I suppose… I’ll have to come up with the ideas for the shows. I’ll have to deal with the broadcasters, sell the program to the broadcasters, make sure they’re happy with what we’re doing. We’re a sponsored show, so I have to collect all the sponsorship every year, and try to encourage sponsors to come onboard with us. Then overseeing a hiring all the directors, hiring the scriptwriters, hiring the cameramen, the sound guys, the researchers, and making sure they’re all… Lucky we have a great team, so we’re able to at this stage… We’re quite streamlined, but it’s tough every year to get it all up and running again.
Daryl: How many episodes do you have in a series?
Marcus: 9 to 10 shows, usually 10 if we can. It kicks off in January, on until March. Then we take a few weeks off in April, and we’re back looking for sponsorship, looking for ideas, trying to develop a new show again. That tends to be the routine.
Daryl: So you’d have one series per annum, but it’s a 12 month process cycle in terms of doing the show. Then you’ve got to prep for the next one.
Marcus: Yeah, you can imagine that recently we’ve turned single topic ideas, so you do 10 topics in a year. Then you’ve got to think of, okay, there’s a lot of stuff in the environment that’s interesting, but you got to rethink how you can make environment topical again next year. At this stage we’ve covered everything. We’ve covered everything in lots of different ways, so how do we keep making this interesting because people aren’t going to watch a show from four years ago. That’s the challenge. What’s interesting now? What are the 10 shows that are interesting.
Daryl: In terms of if you’re over effectively the organization of alcohol of that is it a bit of a spinning plate? For instance, if you’ve got two episodes do you organize episode one, then episode two, or are you working across multiple things? You might do stuff in one location that might be for the first, third and fourth episode, or who many things are you trying to juggle and pull together as you’re doing the series?
Marcus: Yeah, it’s really tough doing 10 at the same time, and we are doing that. I’ve literally got 10 hats on at the moment. I’m sitting there because I’ve got obviously a researcher in the office doing the research, but I’ve got to be on top of all the subjects, to understand every subject very well, so I’m constantly reading about all the different things as much as I can. I bouncing between 10 subjects all the time, and that’s tricky.
Now, in terms of production we all try to stagger. We pick our priority topics. At the moment we’ve got four or five that we’re trying to shoot, that we’re ready to shoot while development team are developing the other topics, but it is very hard to get that sort of efficiency. When you’ve got so many different types of topics, we’ve got different presenters for each program. It’s very hard to double up and say, “Okay, well let’s do those three programs over there.” Everything tends to be done separately. We’ve got different directors for each episode as well. We don’t get a lot of efficiency that way.
Daryl: But you might have. Would it be the case that even though you’re dealing with topics that you might be working on two or three episodes at the same time, or is there any overlap, or is it episode one is done in January, episode two is done in-
Marcus: No, at all the same time. Literally, as I said, I’m working on all of them, but at different stages of each one. We’d have four or five that at the moment we’re starting to film, so we’re about three or four maybe that we’re starting to film, but the others probably won’t start filming until October. That’s everything.
Obviously it’s not ideal. The shorter days in October, so it gets really, really tough production wise. We’ve got to have everything ready, edit it in December, and editing is two, three weeks. Sometimes it can take longer because you never know how things work out. When you get things back into the editing suite, and you’re looking at it going, “This isn’t working.”
The Christmases are very tough because we got out early January. There’s been a few times now I’ve been up Christmas Eve until 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning trying to get a program out, so that’s just the way it works.
Daryl: That might be maybe making changes to an edit.
Marcus: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, this program just isn’t working for us. We’ve got to just sit in the studio and work at how do we make it better because at the end of the day we’ve only got 10 episodes to represent what we’ve done all year. You’ve had your two weeks in the edit, and you’re just not happy with what’s come back. Usually I won’t really see a program from the edit until it’s close to finished. Then I might look at it and go, “Okay, it’s not what I thought it would be. Either we’ve missed something here, or”, so that can happen.
Now, we’ve different directors every year, and we try to bring in fresh ideas. Directors are the creative people, so they might not always grasp a topic, or interpret what we want out of the show perfectly, and that could be down to me not communicating it properly, or anything. They might just have a different idea about how it should be done, and you watch your program in the edit then, and you’re going, “Okay, I just think that could be done”… Sometimes I think that could be done better. Now, I don’t like to tell directors what to do. Usually we get people much more experienced in the year to direct, and usually we tend to get good people. It doesn’t always happen that way, usually we get a good production at the end of it, but over 10 episodes there’s always a couple that really drag on. It could be just a very complicated topic. Sometimes they’re just tricky. The subject matter is a tricky one.
Daryl: What does it have to be for when you view a show? What does it have to have to make it right? What will maybe make you think of changing the edit? Is it just that the information isn’t coming across maybe correctly, or that the program just isn’t flowing? What is it that you have to be happy with before you’re happy with it to go to air?
Marcus: Well, first of all you can’t get bored. It is teasing me into the start? Is it going to suck me a little bit, just go “Okay, I’ll watch this.” People are home because they got a 7:00 which is a tough enough slot because people are just watching six point news, and then they want to have dinner. We’re trying to say, “Stay and have dinner later.” We’re trying to say, “Look, stay and watch this show.” So, trying to get them interested at the started. Then trying to make sure we’re on a certain thread. People tend to drop off when the thread gets lots, or we go off on a tangent, or it gets boring for some reason. Any of those things can make it lose, or sometimes we follow a thread, and it ends up somewhere. It doesn’t really say what we wanted the program to say. We’re going, “How do we get that back in?”
Daryl: It must be easy to lose. If you’ve got all these different productions happening, you’ve got directors and different crews, maybe the initial idea can get, I presume, changed.
Marcus: Yeah, that’s a thing. They’re always changing as well. We want them to be evolving as we go, and as we film. Most of our interviewees for example are all experts in different fields, and I would have talked to every single one of them, but sometimes what they say on camera is different than what I’ve heard on the phone beforehand. Then the narrative changes a little bit. Then we’re adjusting. Then we’re changing the order of things. All of it can get lost a little bit in that process. We’re constantly thinking about how do we make sure the message is landing properly.
Daryl: Are there issues around topicality where you’ve shot something maybe two or three months ago, an incident or an event has changed the context of the story, or the information where you maybe have to say, “Okay, that was correct three or four months ago”, but actually maybe not, or does the information generally stand as it was?
Marcus: Yeah, we haven’t really had that. Sometimes another RT program has picked up the story. Ear To The Ground or something like that has gone and done it, but they never do it the same way we do it, so it’s never been a problem really. Sometimes they’re actually out. Let’s say we’re out with some farmer, or something like that, and we’re talking about a new type of agro-ecological farming, or something like that. They’ll pick it up. They might not even have known we were there, but they might go out with it beforehand. They have a shorter turnaround than us, so they can just pick up on things and do it. Sometimes that’s a pain. They’ve already done the story to some degree, but not. We don’t really pick up on that. We’re more like a, like half air documentaries, so we’re not really picking up on a news thing and moving on. Usually the information, the facts, all that is all still stands. It doesn’t change with some new news report.
Daryl: From your own point of view are you a tactical person? Are you a kind of organized producer? Are you also camera op editor? Have you got skillset in that area as well, or is it talent that you’re bringing in? I know you’re bringing in talent, but is it something you have experience in yourself as well?
Marcus: No, I don’t shoot. I don’t do sound. I have a little bit done sound, that kind of stuff, but you’re really trying to do high end production, so you can’t specialize in everything. I always from the very start, we’ve always had very good cameramen. I’d want to spend years trying to get near to as good as them. I don’t even have time to go out and shoot because I’m in the office trying to work a lot of this stuff out all the time, so I rarely go out on the shoot. Some of them I’d have to jump in, but generally I don’t. Even when I do I’d be directing, or looking at the content more, so I wouldn’t pick up a camera. I’ll always have the best guys doing that.
Daryl: Isn’t that important though to have something like Eco Eye, which is being resourced, which has been properly researched, where the information is accurate, where it’s not just some random person on Twitter or social media who’s essentially pushing out inaccurate ideologies, or information that isn’t correct? Do you feel that the show has, regardless of the size, or the demographic of the audience, the show has an important role in formative, or almost a public service role?
Marcus: Definitely, yeah, and I certainly see it as a public service role. We go out on a public service broadcast even thought they don’t fund our series. We get most of our funding from the EPA, and semi-state organizations. They don’t have any editorial input in the show, but they see it as a public service that we’re getting accurate information out there. Certainly that is true, but it’s a pity that generally there’s a whole cohort of people that don’t get public service television. They don’t get to see it. That’s partly a failing, and public service television in Ireland, that it hasn’t caught on, managed to capture the interest generally of young people. It’s also technology isn’t changing, so social circumstances that have led to that situation, so certainly a lot of people, young people, aren’t getting anything from public service television, and they’re spending their time on Netflix and everything else. You know?
Daryl: Yeah. What do you see as obviously kind of technology and broadcasting are, like a lot of industries are being disrupted by technology? What do you think the future is for public service? RT has had financial difficulties. BBC it seems… There’s often tension between the regulators, the government, and the BBC. There’s this political implications, but what do you see? Do you think these things cycle, and maybe public service will come back, or over the longer term do you think it’s in difficulty?
Marcus: It’s certainly in difficulty. It’s certainly concerning. Will it come back? Not the same way. It’ll be very different. It won’t have the same penetration it did in the past. RTE still has a huge, huge audience in Ireland, and generally that’s nearly all very, very old people. You look at the demographic of who watch our show in January. We actually skew quite young for RTE, but generally in RTE you’ve got over 55’s is the main audience. You know?
Marcus: They’re the ones watching in your TV still, and [inaudible 00:13:32] Ireland’s mostly. A lot of that has to do with they don’t have broadband. They might not have the resources a lot of people to have Skye and all the packages, so they’re still on linear TV, but as that changes it’s very hard not to put on the new next Netflix show because everyone else is watching that. It’s very hard not to do that. It’s very hard to compete with that from an entertainment perspective. How do we compete with the big blockbusters, and that’s become very cheap for people to do that, very accessible. That’s a good thing for people, that they can see what’s going on around the world and all that, but it is concerning because when broadcast was started it was seen as a huge powerful device that would beam into every home in the country. It was recognized then that there should be some public service remit to it, not just entertainment and all that. Obviously that idea has evolved over time. There’s a lot of good things about linear television. We’re broadcasting X. We have the BAI, which is all oversight, which the online platforms don’t have, so they can basically say what they want. They can do what they want, which isn’t, I don’t think a good thing because there’s a lot of…
You watch a Netflix documentary, and a lot of them are just complete bullshit. It’s really easy to make a sensationalized, hard-hitting, sensationalized, factually incorrect documentary on Netflix, and get a big audience from it. Even some good ones, like there’s one on Netflix called Cowspiracy which is on one hand it’s a great documentary. It has great messages. It says the right thing. It’s all about the environment, but there’s so many factual inaccuracies in it that you’d never get away with that on television.
Daryl: There’s no oversight you say. There’s nobody controls and essentially really it’s popularity that’s dictating the success otherwise of that. I wonder. Will it ever get taught stage on a positive note? Could it be possible that if Netflix and Prime, obviously they’re very successful, at some stage will there be some European wide group that will regulate them as broadcasters, but it’s difficult to do when you’ve got a multinational, global operator like Netflix or Amazon?
Marcus: That’s very difficult, and it’s really worrying because you look at what’s going on in the United States. Obviously we’re all concerned by how polarized that society is, and I think a lot of it comes down to them deregulating the broadcasting acts over there, and they made it very easy for even news to just do complete polamix, and sponsor driven ideology type broadcasting. It’s Nazi Germany type of stuff what’s going on there with the Fox News, and that type of thing. They can do what they want, and we can all see, look at that, and go, “That’s really concerning.” Look at how it’s polarized a whole, huge country. That’s really, really concerning, and that might happen here in Europe because just by way of broadcasting changing, and we’re just picking up on all of their media. Even though we have our broadcasting acts, but if linear television dies out then it’s what are we watching, where is it coming from, who’s got the oversight.
Daryl: Because one of the fundamental tenets of public service broadcasting is impartiality, isn’t it?
Daryl: One of the things is to legislate to make sure that there is that, which can be a pain in the ass sometimes because it makes for very simplistic debates, but at the same time if you lose that fundamental tenet that really it’s just a corporation that’s saying what they want, and there’s all kinds of political implications with that.
Marcus: Yeah, some media in Ireland have used that sense of what they call impartiality to drum up stupid debates for the sake of controversy. I get frustrated with prime time. Look, it’s very good public service that prime time is there. I get frustrated sometimes. They just want to have a shouting match sometimes, and then argue, “Well, for public service we have to have one side against another.” They don’t get into the heart of an issue really. The issue could be because obviously I’m doing environment issues for many times, for many years, I get that. The climate change issue, I get it very well. I understand it very well, and prime time for years have always had this. They drag up some climate denier up against a scientist. The public tends to think that’s a fair debate even though 99% of scientist, or 100% of scientist that have looked at climate change obviously understand the issue very well, and have looked at it very well. This climate denier could be paid by the fossil fuel industry, could be influenced by them, could have nothing published on the issue, but they think it’s okay to just have one against the other.
Now, that’s changed because the BAI stepped in recently and said, “No, we need to have fair, weighted balance in a debate based on the evidence of the science.” They have, and noticeably you haven’t seen that climate scenario show up on prime time anymore, which is good. That’s really driven by the BAI because they’ve looked at it and gone, “Well, these debates aren’t good public service anymore.”
Daryl: They’re not credible.
Marcus: Yeah, they’re not credible, exactly.
Daryl: Do you think that, like social media’s a force for good, a force for ill? How has it impacted the environmental movement? Has it helped, or has it muddied a lot of the debate by… I think social media tends to push debate to the extremes where you don’t get the moderate view, and consequently you don’t get results because you don’t. Results I often think are the best compromise between the extremes.
Marcus: 100%, yeah.
Daryl: But, in social media, but there must be benefits of it as well in terms of empowering people with the information, and making people more aware of environmental issues.
Marcus: Yes, probably gets people more aware. I see huge problems in it though. I constantly just see the polarized debates going on, on social media. It frustrates me, and I wonder. It’s obviously, as we know, the algorithms are all set up to give us what we want, so if you’re slightly left leaning person, and you start getting into environment issues you’re going to get into the left-leaning cohort of environmentalism, which tends to have its own ideology. Obviously, as I said, a lot of my friends might be left-leaning. I’m left-leaning. I’m not saying this in a derogatory way, but sometimes there’s an ideology there, and they’re trying to push a point of view that’s just not going to work for the rest of society. It’s not helpful for getting people at the table, and getting them to speak the same language, and getting them to understand each other. That’s really important on this issue because if we’re not all trying to go the same director then it’s no hope of going anywhere. Obviously then the slightly right-leaning person have their own ideologies and views too. Then social media, and generally online we get polarized in the pockets. The algorithms push us into certain things.
You’re on Twitter, and your Twitter feeds giving you the stuff that you want, and you like, and that’s really, really concerning because I see it in the environment debate all the time. People that are from the right, and the left, that really want to take action have different ideas about what to do, very different ideas.
Daryl: But if everybody stays in their own ideology nothing happens. It’s better to have a compromise solution rather than no, or at least something that’s moving forward.
Marcus: Yeah, I always say it’s better to have an evidence based solution, and you need to be able to have a discussion, an evidence based discussion with someone who doesn’t have your view, and a frank and honest one. It’s hard to do that in social media because a lot of times people are just trying to virtue signal to their own audience. They’re not really trying to get to the heart of the problem, and to the heart of understanding what the other side thinks, or what they feel about it. That’s an issue.
Daryl: From the perspective of somebody who has done a lot of research, who’s been knee-deep in this issue for the last 10 or 15 years, how bad are we? If somebody has, say, kids who are four or five years old now, when they’re in their 30s what kind of world are they going to be living in, and how badly will their lives be impacted by decisions that aren’t being made today, or are being made today, like what’s happening in Brazil or elsewhere?
Marcus: Sure, I think about this a lot. I didn’t get into this, funny enough, from an environment ideology perspective at all. I kind of fell into this job years ago. My dad’s very much an environment ideologies. I was always fighting with him about this, so I come from this, a very neutral perspective, but certainly of all the environment issues we’ve dealt with in the series the one that always caught my eye the most was the climate change issue. It was very hard to see past how this wouldn’t affect people in a very profound way. The more you read about it the more worried you get, the more science you read, and the more scientists you talk to the more worried you get about it. Of course, I recently my daughter was born six months ago. All of a sudden that does become very important to you where it’s all going.
Daryl: It’s interesting isn’t it?
Daryl: I often think about the debate, the perspective of the people who have kids against the perspective of the people who maybe done regardless of what age they are, but when you think about it from the next generation’s point of view it’s an entirely different perspective. Isn’t it?
Marcus: Yeah, it is. It’s very much so. You tend to find the people that aren’t too much interested in taking action on this issue, the people that think… I suppose they’re Cornucopian in that they feel society will just adapt and move on. They tend to be white haired old men. They tend to be that, and mothers are concerned, and parents are concerned, and young people are concerned about the future, so that’s very true, and they should be.
You talk to scientists, and look. You go to an oncologist, and he says you got lung cancer. You should be concerned. You talk to a climate scientist, and he says, “Look, the world’s heading for four degrees, and he tells you what that means, four degrees warming over preindustrial. If he tells you what that means, and what effects that’ll have across societies it’s definitely worrying, definitely worrying. Some of the things that would help mitigate that problem, obviously all societies need to reduce CO2 emissions as much as we can, very, very difficult to do. Things like carbon taxes are so politically difficult because obviously we live in a very socially unequal world, and country where people less well off are going to have a hard time paying more for energy, and fuels. If you’re this most people down the country have an average oil bill in their heating of two and a half, three grand a year, and if you increase carbon taxes on them it’s going to affect them, but that is something that we have to do. How do we do that equitably, and fair? That’s one of the big debates going on in Ireland at the moment, one of the ones we’ve weighed in on Eco Eye, and we’ve talked about.
Again, we try not to do anything in Eco Eye that comes across as ideological. We present the facts, and we look at what the evidence is on both sides of those debates, and we look at what should be done. That’s a very difficult one, but globally I’m very interested in this whole energy issue. Two of the things that are completely overlooked by environmentalists generally, one of them is nuclear energy. It’s availability bizarre that in Germany who are relatively civilized country are concerned about climate change, had the Green Party over there actually trying to close down their biggest source of zero CO2 power.
Daryl: Which is nuclear.
Marcus: Which is nuclear. I know an awful lot about nuclear. My first documentary actually was kind of anti-nuclear film, Return to Chernobyl. It’s one of the films we actually won an award in New York and everything for it. But, it’s one of the films I regret most because I’ve learned to really recognize that nuclear is not a bad thing if it’s done right, and well.
Daryl: But, you did it with best information at the time.
Marcus: Yeah, exactly. I did it. I was young, naïve, and I listened to the wrong people probably. Since then I’ve certainly advanced my research skills hugely. I always talk to counterpoints, and regard to nuclear I’m very much pro any zero CO2 power because the challenge to get people off fossil fuels is going to be about making fossil fuels expensive. It’s going to be how do we start taxing fossil fuels out of the system. As well as that how do we make zero CO2 energy cheap, so people can make the choice. You’re not going to buy and drive an electric car unless it’s cheaper to charge it, so zero.
What we can do is have zero CO2 electricity. We can do it. France have it. Sweden have it, and Norway have it. Norway has lots of hydro power. They have lots of mountains. It can’t be recreated everywhere. Sweden and France have a lot of nuclear, and they have very, very low carbon grids, so they’re at a really, really good position to actually get people off fossil fuels because they’re able to produce very, very cheap electricity to people, and they’re able to do that. Raising carbon taxes in those countries on fossil fuels isn’t as difficult. Anyway, it is in France. They’ve got their, we know, the cultural thing there, but in Sweden they’ve managed it very well, to raise carbon taxes on all the other fuels. The people are electrifying everything. They’ve all got geothermal heat pumps running on electricity in their homes. They’ve got the lowest CO2 footprint in Europe, and it really helps to have that base load in nuclear power.
Ireland has taken the approach of replacing renewables. We’ve don’t a lot in our programs to show the good side of that, and we should do that, but we’re probably too small to really embrace nuclear, but I do see that debate polarized in the environment moving globally. People that are concerned about climate change also think that nuclear should be stopped. You saw it in the democratic debate. I’m a big fan of Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. I think they could be, they’re really good people, but completely misinformed about nuclear, or they’re just saying something that’s popular, and they’re virtual signaling to their audience. That most democrat leaning voters in the States would think that nuclear’s a bad thing. They grew up with Three Mile Island, the Chernobyl thinking that this technology today could lead to that. They think that nuclear waste is a problem. It isn’t. It’s never hurt anyone anywhere. There’s all that is one of the things I look at. I think it’s this madness that the scientist are saying, “We need nuclear power”, or the IPCC, the International Energy Agency. They’re all saying we need it, but that story gets lost amongst environmentalists. They don’t see it. They think that we can just do it all with wind and solar.
Wind and solar won’t get us far enough, and fortunately we should use as much as we can of it. It won’t get us far enough.
Daryl: I find it frustrating sometimes when you see political discussions and some politicians will say, “Well, the government needs to start this.” There’s no doubt the government does, but the reality is the change is so drastic that in reality every single one of us has to do something. You have to have the mentality that this is not a problem that can be solved because it seems to me we’re so late in the day, and the changes required are so drastic that everybody has to fundamentally change their mindset just to have a chance probably.
Marcus: Yeah, certainly everything has to change, a lot has to change. As I said, if we can get zero CO2 electricity, a lot of it, and have it cheap, it makes everything easy for people. Everything becomes a lot easier, so there is a top down thing there that has to happen. I think we’re not against subsidizing water. We’re not against subsidizing health system, education. We should be subsidizing zero CO2 energy in a big way. We’re letting the market sort it out at the moment. We’re letting basically people who pay your energy bills. You pay the cost of those wind turbines, and those solar panels, and if you had nuclear on the grid your energy bill would pay for that.
I’m of the view that the state should step in and go, “We need to have a zero carbon electricity grid. We need to make electricity cheap, and zero carbon electricity needs to be cheap for people now”, or make a set of 10 year plan to have that. Then it makes it easier to start increasing carbon taxes on oil, and all these other fossil fuels because people will… They can switch to a heat pump, or even electric rads if it’s coming from zero CO2 electricity, cheap zero CO2 electricity, electric storage rods. There’s all kinds of things people can do, so there is a top down that is much more important, but we’re not going to get a top down unless we start asking for it.
We need to, as a public, the best thing you can be doing about climate change is talking about it as you’re getting yourself on it, and from scientist, not from the left-leaning green movement. Even though there’s a lot to learn from them, but there’s some things that they don’t have.
Daryl: So, the government needs to lead by example.
Marcus: The government needs to lead, and it’s starting to do a little bit.
Daryl: Do you think will there be a tipping point where we’re seeing so much more environmental stuff, or perhaps it’s being reported more, but there’s certainly… No, I’m sure there’s obviously more issues. Do you think there’ll be a tipping point where politically governments have to say, “You know what? We absolutely have to step up here because there is too much clearly weather events, climate change? There’s too much evidence of what happening, and there’s too much happening to our country, or to our environment” where they’re more committed globally to saying this needs to be addressed property.
Marcus: To some degree, yeah. I think that’s already happening, but again, I’m not sure. If you look at where the trends are going, [inaudible 00:32:59], and Trump and all that, their results have polarized countries. No matter how bad climate change gets in America those Trump supporters. I don’t think they’re going to change their way of thinking about it. I don’t know if they will.
Daryl: No matter what happens.
Marcus: Well, funny enough because you see these communities that have been devastated by floods, and hurricanes, and things of that in the States. Often they are Republican heartland places. I’ve read a lot about the psychology of climate change and denial, psychology denial. That tends to just reinforce them. They tend to-
Marcus: Yeah, it’s funny.
Daryl: So even when they felt the effects they still don’t-
Marcus: Even when they feel the effects that doesn’t wake them up to it because when you’ve lost everything all of a sudden all you have left is your identity. If you’re identity is one thing and you’ve lost your material goods you hang onto your identity. You hang onto your religion. That to me is… I’ve saw something I’ve been reading about recently. I was surprised to learn that.
Daryl: In that instance do they just say it’s bad luck?
Marcus: There’s some place they’re blaming the gays or whatever. This is the kind of crazy stuff that goes on, but they don’t blame… It doesn’t make them go, “I better start listening to the scientists.” Maybe some do, but generally there’s no evidence yet to say when people are really directly affected even they will change. There’s no evidence to say that.
Daryl: So it doesn’t make it more politically expedient to deal with it then if that’s the case.
Marcus: Not really-
Daryl: [crosstalk 00:34:35]. If that’s the case it doesn’t necessarily put more pressure on Trump to say I need to deal with this climate change issue.
Marcus: No, it doesn’t on him now, but America’s really a lost cause to some degree, but here I think certainly people are seeing, and because we still have relatively okay news, and all that. We’re still seeing what’s going on around the world. The reason we have protestors out in the streets now, and the kids are out striking, and all that is because the world is starting to see for the first time the effects of climate change. It’s started to happen. The tip of the iceberg is all we’ve seen really, but they’re starting to see it.
Reality is what we see now is a result of innovations that’s happened in the past. It’s a long inertia to climate change, so whatever we do now won’t affect the next 20 years. It’ll affect the next 100, so there is that. Once the people realize that they tend to think selfishly, and go, “Well, okay, I can’t reverse next year’s flood by doing something.” That’s one of the problems of climate change. It’s such a big issue, and people feel so disconnected from it that they feel like what’s the point in trying.
Daryl: It’s too big to do.
Marcus: Yeah, and I totally understand that. My view is that if we work towards zero CO2 power, a cheap power, I know my daughter’s life, and her lifetime will be better off if we have that. I know that. No matter how bad climate change gets at least if we have a zero CO2 grid that’s producing a lot of electricity that will be one thing that can help. If we’re restoring natural habitats that will be a good thing for nature. That will give nature a better chance to survive. There’s lots of things we can do that will help, so it’s not like it’s a lost cause that we… Reality is climate change is going to get a lot worse, but how much worse it gets over the next 100 years, or whatever, is dependent on this generation. Then how well we adapt to that too depends on this generation, so there is an awful lot we can do.
A lot of people, they’ve got their own challenges. They just see it as too big an issue, but-
Daryl: It’s important to think about the power of the individual though. Isn’t it?
Daryl: If everybody does one small thing, even within their own circle, it even makes people… If people don’t decide to do likewise it makes them aware, and it gets the conversation. That can have a small but ripple effect.
Marcus: Yeah, I think the small thing though should be… It’s funny enough. You ask people. You see the polls all the time, and you look at more and more people are become concerned about climate change. Then they’re asked what do they do about it. Overwhelming the majority of people say, “Well, I recycle.” That tends to be the thing that they do about climate change. The one small thing tends to help if you recycle, and it’s made easier now for people to recycle, so that one small thing makes people feel like it’s okay to have a Land Rover, and I live in [Sanument 00:37:44] and have a Land Rover. I think it’s more than doing a small thing.
I don’t think it’s about making sacrifices that affect your family and all that, and living in a cold house. I don’t think it’s about that, and making your life worse, but I think we should all be questioning where our power comes from, and how much energy we use, and whether it makes sense to have a Land Rover in the city. You know?
Daryl: Yeah, and before we finish up there are two questions for you. This may not be hugely applicable to you because you’re more on the production side, but [killer cat 00:38:20], so we ask everybody we interview. What’s the most essential piece of equipment, hardware, software, whatever that they use that’s essential to the job that they do? In your case it’s not going to be a piece of production equipment, but maybe there’s something that is absolutely without it you can’t function [crosstalk 00:38:40].
Marcus: None of us could function without our computers, but that’s kind of boring. You know what I just got? I just got a headset, and it’s great. It’s a wireless headset, so I take all my phone calls, and I can type while I’m chatting because I was never able to hold the phone up against my ear, or my shoulder, or whatever it is, might strain my neck or something. I was always writing, trying to write my notes as I was chatting. I just got that headset. It was great to be able to type down my notes as I was chatting to people.
Daryl: It’s very LA isn’t it?
Marcus: Yeah, but it’s been hugely. It’s really added to my productivity. It’s been great.
Daryl: It’s the small things that make a difference isn’t it?
Marcus: Yeah, wireless headset, get one.
Daryl: Brilliant, and the final thing is then Play Forward. This is a podcast about speaking to people in the industry, production industry, creative people from all fields really. Who do you think we should interview next? You think who would be good to speak to?
Marcus: Wow, yeah, it’d be interesting to see because you asked me that question of environment there, and where it’s going politically, and all that. Maybe get Eamon Ryan in, see what he thinks about all that.
Daryl: Well, we shall endeavor to get him. Let’s see if he’ll come on. We’d love to speak to him. Marcus Stewart, wish you continued success with Eco Eye, and I think it’s hugely important. I can’t think of anything hat is more of a public service in terms of broadcasting than what you’re doing, so I want to thank you today for coming in, and wish you continued success with hopefully the next 10 or 20 series of Eco Eye.
Marcus: Thanks very much.